It was late in the evening at San Diego, in the autumn of the year 1832; there was no moon, but the stars shone so brightly in the clear, dry atmosphere that it was easy to distinguish objects at some little distance. A young fellow, in the dress of a sailor, was making his way through the narrow streets that bordered the port, when he heard a sudden shout, followed by fierce exclamations and Mexican oaths. Without pausing to consider whether it was prudent to interfere, he grasped tightly a cudgel he had that day cut, and ran to the spot where it was evident that a conflict was going on. It was but some forty yards away, and as he approached he made out four figures who were dodging round a doorway and were evidently attacking someone standing there. The inequality of the combat was sufficient to appeal to the sailor's sympathies. The sand that lay thick in the street had deadened his footsteps, and his presence was unmarked till his stick descended with a sharp crack on the up-lifted wrist of one of the assailants, eliciting a yell of pain, while the knife the man held flew across the street.
Since the second half of the last century art historians, realizing that the image of Rembrandt's work had become blurred with time, have attempted to redefine the artist's significance both as a source of inspiration to other artists and as a great artist in his own right. In order to carry on the work started by previous generations, a group of leading Dutch art historians from the university and museum world joined forces in the late 1960s in order to study afresh the paintings usually ascribed to the artist. The researchers came together in the Rembrandt Research Project which was established to provide the art world with a new standard reference work which would serve the community of art historians for the nearby and long future.They examined the originals of all works attributed to Rembrandt taking full advantage of today's sophisticated techniques including radiography, neutron activation autoradiography, dendrochronology and paint sample analysis - thereby gaining valuable insight into the genesis and condition of the paintings.The result of this meticulous research is laid down chronologically in the following Volumes:THIS VOLUME: A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, Volume I, which deals with works from Rembrandt's early years in Leiden(1629-1631), published in 1982.A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, Volume II, covering his first years in Amsterdam (1631-1634), published in 1986.A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, Volume III, goes into his later years of reputation (1635-1642), published in 1990.Each Volume consists of a number of Introductory Chapters as well as the full Catalogue of all paintings from the given time period attributed to Rembrandt. In this catalogue each painting is discussed and examined in a detailed way, comprising a descriptive, an interpretative and a documentary section. For the authenticity evaluation of the paintings three different categories are used to divide the works in:A. Paintings by Rembrandt, B. Paintings of which Rembrandt's authorship cannot be positively either accepted or rejected, and C. Paintings of which Rembrandt's authorship cannot be accepted.This volume (Volume I) contains 730 pages, starting of with four introductory chapters and discussing 93 paintings. In clear and accessible explanatory text all different paintings are discussed, larded with immaculate images of each painting. Details are shown where possible, as well as the results of modern day technical imaging. In this volume the first ever works by Rembrandt are discussed, also using his etchings as comparison.
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